today’s news for Friday, October 23, 2020

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 Off the Cuff

This week on “Off The Cuff” Justin, Megan, Allie, and Karen kick things off by toasting to Financial Aid Day and NASFAA Member Appreciation Day before Megan provides an update on the latest in the incremental narrowing of negotiations into additional coronavirus relief legislation, and highlights a new report from the Department of Education (ED) on foreign gift reporting. Justin then recaps a recent opinion from a federal judge blasting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over the department’s processing of borrower defense claims. Karen provides an update on ED’s Coronavirus Indicator and what administrators should be on the lookout for in terms of reporting. The group also talks about some recent life hacks they’ve tackled and want to know if you’ve recently acquired any. Send us recommendations on new ways to improve our daily schedules!

This week has been all about celebrating the work that financial aid administrators do, day in and day out. We know that even under normal circumstances, you work tirelessly to make students' dreams come true — and now that effort has grown tenfold, as you strive to maintain a sense of continuity for students, and juggle regulatory and compliance duties. We know you work long days, and often don't get the recognition you deserve. So, in honor of NASFAA Member Appreciation Day — celebrated on October 24 each year — please enjoy this special message from your 2020-21 National Chair Brenda Hicks, NASFAA President Justin Draeger, and the entire NASFAA staff. Thank you for all of your incredible work!


Earlier this month, NASFAA President Justin Draeger joined NACUBO Director of Student Financial Services and Educational Programs Bryan Dickson to discuss the impact of income share agreements on the higher education landscape. On the episode, Draeger said that while the field isn't yet regulated, schools have some flexibility to experiment with these alternatives to traditional financial aid and notes that institutions that are leading the way with these new instruments are doing so with great care. Listen to the full episode.


NASFAA is seeking volunteers to become mentors for the Diversity Leadership Program (DLP). The Mentors Group exists to provide a high quality mentorship experience to DLP program participants each program year. Between November and July, mentors and mentees will meet and/or talk at least monthly, or more often as able. Over several months, mentors and mentees will discuss topics including: how to get involved in state, regional, or national associations; developing leadership skills; books, articles, or other readings related to leadership in general and campus/association leadership specifically; and more. Review the complete task force charter for more details and, if interested, complete the volunteer form by 5:00 p.m. ET today, October 23.

Webinar Logo

The current global crisis caused major shifts in higher education operations, drastically disrupting students' experiences. In times of disruption, students look to their institutions for support and guidance — how institutions respond can ultimately push a student to persist or stop out. In this November 17 webinar, we'll discuss retention issues impacting institutions and how schools can respond in key areas to help mitigate the impact of crisis and plan for the long-term success of students. Learn about taking a holistic approach to support including strategies for virtual support, continuity planning, retention outreach, inbound engagement, community building, and more to support your students. This 60-minute webinar, sponsored by Blackboard, is free to NASFAA members, but you must register in advance.

Blue Icon

Employee turnover and onboarding can be draining to an already overwhelmed staff. Sam Houston State University worked with Blue Icon Advisors to determine the cause of turnover and develop an onboarding and training program to help retain employees. The financial aid director said, "Our three new hires told us they feel like they are being set up for success and that the office culture is positive." Contact Blue Icon for help with your onboarding program.

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Starting Oct. 22, 2020, the Department of Education (ED) will begin sending emails and SMS notifications, when applicable, to 2020–21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) filers (and parents of dependent 2020–21 FAFSA filers) who have not yet submitted a 2021–22 FAFSA form.


In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, ED is proposing a reinstatement with change of a previously approved collection related to the Veterans Upward Bound (VUB), one of the U.S. Department of Education's Upward Bound programs, designed to motivate and assist veterans in developing academic and other requisite skills necessary for acceptance and success in a program of postsecondary education.




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